NMN: What is a common operational trap practices should avoid?
Holland: Process over people is a common hurdle we forget about. Focusing on process and forgetting relationships will doom even the best idea. Remembering people over process helps achieve broader buy-in when it comes to implementing new strategies and initiatives. Never forget to plan for your people, especially the most strategic or challenging ones. Know who are staff leaders - and that's not necessarily the people with the highest titles - and engage those people in the planning and implementation process.
Watkins: With the shifting healthcare environment, practices should analyze and assess efficiencies on a regular basis. This analysis and assessment should include the entire practice, from the point of initial contact by a patient to the final payment. Measure the practice's performance to benchmarking data and by trending performance over time for comparison. Eliminating inefficiencies, whether through implementation of new technology or other modifications, should result in improved productivity, as well as increased patient experience. Productivity, efficiency and patient experience are the keys to a financially stable practice.
NMN: What's the best tip to share with a new practice manager?
Watkins: Communication and culture are essential to an effective team and productive work environment. Be available to physicians and staff. It is as important to listen as it is to share information. Set the example for others by your interactions, inquiries and listening.
Holland: Never stop learning. Healthcare is constantly changing and evolving, and operations professionals have to be able to change along with the industry, whether that's understanding new regulations or rethinking patient engagement strategies. We expect our providers to practice evidence-based medicine, and we should expect our administrators to practice evidence-based management. The only way to do this is to continue learning.
The best way to stay on top of the changing landscape and to adopt best practices is to get involved with a professional organization. Nashville is really lucky to have strong organizations supporting providers and industry professionals. For practice managers, NMGMA is an unbeatable resource for education, career development, networking and gaining insight into addressing common issues. I hope practice managers from across the area will join us for a meeting to learn what NMGMA is all about. We typically meet the second Tuesday of the month. Those interested in learning more, can visit us at nashvillemgma.org or reach out to me directly at 615.772.3063 or firstname.lastname@example.org to attend an upcoming meeting as a guest.